Juniata Valley’s newest teacher, Sarah Rudnick, found a unique way to incorporate STEM into her Spanish I classes.
“Students used green screens, iPhones, iMovie, video tutorials and the STEM lab here at JV to create a weather report about a Spanish-speaking country,” Rudnick explained. “They researched different places in the country to learn about what the weather is actually like there, and then recorded themselves in front of a green screen pretending to be news anchors. They then got the opportunity to edit their own videos so the background matched the countries and weather they were talking about.”
The STEM Lab Aid, senior Hanah Thatcher, elaborated on Rudnick’s statement. “They worked in groups of two to three. I enjoyed helping them with their hands-on activity with the green screen,” she said of the project.
“My partner and I chose Cali, Colombia, for my project. We spoke about the hot weather there. It was so cool that we got to incorporate STEM and our own creativity into this project,” beamed freshman Makayla Moskel.
Adria Russell, a freshman, also enjoyed the STEM Spanish project as well. “It was a great way to incorporate technology into the classroom. My partner and I spoke in Spanish, giving the weather report for a hurricane. I pretended to get hit by a flying stop sign, and then fell down. That was really fun!” exclaimed Russell.
This is not the first year that green screens have been used in the Spanish I class. Last year, students used them to give a weather report as well. “I remember last year’s green screen project because it was so fun. I learned how to talk about the weather in Spanish, and my partner and I put on a really funny skit. It’s a very innovative project. I really enjoyed that when it was done we could show others what we learned and how much fun we had,” stated sophomore Anna Kuntz.
Freshmen Reid Edwards and Jake Rodkey couldn’t agree with Kuntz more. “It was a really interesting way to learn a new language. It was imaginative and creative, which I really enjoyed,” said Edwards of the project. Rodkey added: “It was a very fun new experience. We haven’t done anything like it at school before.” Freshman Grace Brown also added: “Ms. Rudnick is a great teacher. I loved this project and can’t wait to do more like it,”
When asked why she decided to do this project, Rudnick commented: “I chose to do this project because it uses vocabulary in a realistic context. Most students modeled their projects after weather reports they’ve seen, so it’s relatable to them. The project means more to the students and is more engaging to them than simply memorizing vocabulary for a test.” She also wanted to be sure to thank others who helped her: “This project really couldn’t have happened without the support and assistance of Mr. Rimmer and Mr. Wakefield, I’m really grateful for them.”
It can easily be said that the Spanish I STEM project was a success. Rudnik agreed: “My favorite part has been seeing how much fun the students are having and listening to them tell me about their ideas. It’s really fun to see students bringing their own personalities into the projects — some students even chose to add in commercials. I’m so proud of what these kids have done and how much effort they are putting into it, and I appreciate and am thankful for the teachers and parents that provided props and/or their time to help.”